In May of last year, a shocking incident took place in Oldham, where an Uber Eats driver was viciously attacked by a banned ‘fighting’ dog while delivering a takeaway. The severity of the attack was such that the driver had to be hospitalized due to the dog biting his face. Recently, Gemma Louise Ward, the owner of the dog, appeared in court to face charges related to the incident. The case was brought before Tameside Magistrates’ Court, where the court heard the details of the horrifying incident. The outcome of the trial will determine the consequences for Ward and the future of the dangerous dog.
On the evening of 3 May, a 39-year-old woman named Ward placed an order for a McDonald’s meal through Uber Eats. The delivery driver arrived at her home on Seventh Avenue, Limeside, and knocked on her front door at approximately 7.30pm. However, upon approaching the door, the driver noticed a dog barking inside the house, seemingly not confined to the living room.
Concerned about the dog’s behavior, the delivery driver informed Ward about the agitated animal. Despite Ward’s attempts to keep the dog behind her, it managed to slip past her and made a beeline towards the driver.
The dog proceeded to pin the driver against a nearby fence and bit his chin. In a state of fear, the driver instinctively covered the wound with his hand to protect himself. The attack lasted for a few minutes, but it felt much longer to the terrified driver.
Response and Consequences
Ward appeared hesitant to intervene and did not extend any assistance. In a statement, the driver conveyed his astonishment and apprehension regarding the incident. He pondered why someone would permit their dog to assault an individual who was merely delivering food. Subsequently, the driver was transported to the hospital for medical care and is currently grappling with the lingering effects of the attack. The driver’s physical and emotional recovery remains an ongoing struggle, as he contends with the aftermath of the traumatic event.
Ward has confessed to owning a ‘fighting’ dog and being responsible for a dog that caused injury due to being dangerously out of control. However, her sentencing has been postponed as she fights to save her dog, which is a breed resembling a pit bull terrier, from being euthanized. According to the law, since the dog caused harm and belongs to a banned breed, it should be put down unless it is determined to pose no risk to the public. Ward has enlisted the help of an expert who has concluded that the dog is not a threat and could be included in the register of exempt dogs overseen by the Department for Food and Rural Affairs. Another option being considered is a ‘contingency’ destruction order, which would require the dog to be leashed and muzzled in public. The court must assess Ward’s suitability as a dog owner and decide whether she should be allowed to keep a dog or be disqualified from owning animals. The case has been adjourned to allow the police to respond to the expert report and investigate Ward’s history of dog ownership.